So you’ve just got your heart metaphorically ripped from your chest and run over by a steamroller? Maybe there was someone else, maybe “it’s not you, it’s me,” or maybe you don’t have an explanation at all (or sometimes, a fun combination of all three). Regardless, break-ups suck and usually aren’t fair. No matter the case, handling the aftermath takes time. Take it from a professional “break-upee” — here are some ways to survive the break-up, ‘cause we are never getting back together. Like ever.
1) PUT YOURSELF FIRST
Now is the time where you start to care about YOU. Be a little selfish here. You’re hurt, and you might be suffering. Maybe you didn’t want this to happen. Maybe you saw it coming, and you couldn’t stop it. Regardless, you come first. Pick up the pieces, hold them close and start to care about yourself before caring about anyone else. Make sure you’re okay before trying to make sense of the mess you’ve been shoved in. Your feelings are paramount right now, and let yourself feel before trying to fix them. You might feel everything or nothing at all. Don’t police yourself out of any emotions because you’re afraid of overreacting. Just let yourself reach “okay.”
2) DON’T LET PEOPLE/YOUR FRIENDS/SOCIETY TELL YOU HOW TO FEEL
The worst part of a break-up is how everyone around you becomes a therapist. Even with the best of intentions, a chat with a friend can sometimes end up making you feel worse. Bottom line: everyone grieves differently and not everyone is built to immediately handle heartbreak. That whole “it takes half the duration of the relationship to get over someone” isn’t always applicable. Granted, there is a point when it is time to move on. But that point should be YOUR choice, not anyone else’s. Don’t let anyone tell you, “You should be over this already,” or “Stop being sad, it was ‘x’ months ago.” When you’re ready to move on, move on. And don’t let anyone rush you out of it.
This goes for dating again, as well. When you’re ready to jump back in the ocean to find another fish, go swimming. But if you’re looking for a catch just to get over things, save yourself (and that other poor fish) the stress and wait until you truly feel well. Hurt people will always hurt other people; end the cycle with yourself.
3) DO WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL OKAY
This is an open-ended bit of advice because I don’t know you, dear reader, and I don’t know what makes you feel okay. For me, encouraging myself to get back to the things I enjoy helped me feel normal again. Painting my nails, playing sports and keeping myself busy put my mind in a positive space. Even during those moments of nostalgia or bouts of sadness, as long as my mind is in a positive space I’ll feel okay. Maybe for you it’s baking a batch of cookies makes you feel good, going for a long run or treating yourself to dinner at Panera or even cleaning your whole apartment. Listen to sad music if you want. Watch stand-up comedians until your clutching your abs from laughing so hard. Don’t aim for trying to be “happy,” because you might miss your mark and become upset with yourself for not getting there yet. Aspire for “okay,” or “good” or even “better than yesterday.” Support yourself and find that thing you loved to do before everything hit the fan and help yourself get back into it.
4) TAKE A MENTAL HEALTH DAY
I’m still waiting on the day that I can take mine, but a nice mental health day is always good for the soul. If you can afford it, shut your phone off, block social media and just rest. Recharge yourself. Take this time to cry it out or eat your feelings. Watch something you’ve never seen before on Netflix. Maybe you haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep in a while. Even if you can’t swing a whole day, take some time to get back to yourself. Don’t run away from responsibilities or fall off of the face of the earth, but just tap out for a little bit. For whatever period of time, you’ve been acting as part of a whole. Use this time to get back to being your own whole again. You’re not broken!
5) REMIND YOURSELF OF THE GOOD THINGS
I won’t tell you what I think these things are because I don’t know you, but if you’ve woken up this morning and gotten out of bed, that’s a pretty great, universal accomplishment. Don’t let the small victories go unappreciated. Be proud of yourself for having the strength to do your make-up today. You deserved that 96 on the test you were too sad to study for. You told a joke that made a whole group of people laugh. Take note of those little good things. It’s so easy to focus on the bad or the feeling of loneliness, so it might take time to get past that. Don’t force yourself into thinking positive because you might miss your mark, again. Remind yourself of the little things that were good your day.
My last thing I hope you can take away from this is that this feeling is not forever. It sucks for right now, but it will get better. Be patient with yourself, because you are your own biggest fan. If you can believe that you can get through it, you will.